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Key Verse: The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9

Patience is perhaps one of the most difficult qualities for us to develop in this fast-paced, irritable world, but it is one that reaps great rewards of peace and hope. Romans 5:3-4 says, ‘We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.‘ The storms of life, small and great, produce in us a calmness and peace that passes understanding. Someone once said, “Patience is the ability to remain collected when things aren’t going exactly how you’d like.”

God’s patience is seen through many a missionary journeys. William Carey and Adoniram Judson were in Burma for seven years before their first convert from Hinduism. It took fourteen years in West Africa before missionaries saw fruit, nine years in New Zealand’s tribal lands, and over sixteen years for missionaries to have an impact on the French Polynesian populations of islands such as Tahiti.

As with all the other characteristics of Christ that the Holy Spirit wishes to work in us, patience is a fruit of the Spirit, and it helps us draw closer to God by being ‘conformed to the image of his Son’ (Romans 8:29). A Canadian preacher and missionary has this to say about patience: Beloved, have you ever thought that someday you will not have anything to try you, or anyone to vex you again? There will be no opportunity in heaven to learn or to show the spirit of patience, forbearance, and longsuffering.

God is a patient God, bearing with us through all of our sins. How blessed we are that God doesn’t lose his patience with us, as we do with others. He does not destroy us as our deeds demand, but in gentle persevering, He purifies us (Malachi 3:3). We should thank God daily for his patience with us because one day his judgement will come to the sinful world. But until that day, we can cry out with the words from Psalm 51:7, “Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

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